Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse and the man in charge of the monarch's finances, is to retire at the end of next year, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The former high flying City accountant has held the prestigious post since 2002 and will be succeeded by his deputy Michael Stevens.

Sir Alan was in post when the funding system for the monarchy was given a major overhaul by the government with the Sovereign Grant replacing funds from the Civil List and grants-in-aid four years ago.

He hosts the annual media briefing on the royal finances and issued a statement after the 2015 event saying it was "never intended to be a criticism of Scotland or of the First Minister'' after a royal source claimed the Scottish Government could cut its contribution to the British monarchy by more than £1 million if plans for further devolution went ahead.

A graduate of St Andrews University, where the Duke of Cambridge studied, Sir Alan was a tax specialist, who had made a name for himself in the City with a campaign to promote plain English and banish boardroom gobbledegook.

The former senior KPMG executive once presided over a study of neckties, which concluded that high-flying businessmen wear subdued ties, while the less successful ones go for the flamboyant look.

Mr Stevens will take up his new job in January 2018, after joining the Royal Household as finance director for the Royal Collection Trust in 1995.

The former KPMG employee was promoted in 2002 to the role of managing director, Royal Collection Enterprises and four years later he returned to a finance role, as deputy treasurer to the Queen and was promoted to his present role last year.